Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Fact Check: Is Stephanie Herseth Sandlin a "Radical Liberal?"

Bookmark and Share

Last Thursday the South Dakota Republican Party launched a new website called "Stop Stephanie," designed to attack 4-term At-large Democrat U.S. Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

Herseth Sandlin - a virtual lock for a 5th term should she decide to run again in 2010 - is also a rumored candidate for South Dakota's open gubernatorial seat (GOP Governor Tim Rounds is term-limited). Herseth's grandfather, Ralph Herseth, is one of only four Democrats to have won a gubernatorial race (1958) in South Dakota since statehood.

On the new website, the South Dakota Republican Party vows to "highlight the radical liberal voting record" of the Congresswoman. "Twenty years in Washington, DC, has changed Stephanie Herseth Sandlin," said South Dakota Republican Party Chairman Bob Gray. "Her rhetoric in South Dakota simply does not match her voting record in Washington."

But does Representative Herseth Sandlin have a "radical liberal" voting record?

Unless the South Dakota Republican Party views every Democrat in Washington, D.C. as a radical, there is little evidence to support this charge.

First, Herseth Sandlin is a member of the 51-member conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition on the Hill, along with other Upper Midwestern conservative Democrats like Minnesota's Collin Peterson, Iowa's Leonard Boswell, and North Dakota's Earl Pomeroy. Herseth is also the Blue Dog Co-Chair for Administration.

Secondly, National Journal's analysis of key votes in their annual vote rankings consistently finds Herseth Sandlin to be among the two-dozen most conservative Democrats in the House.

In fact, as more Democrats have been elected to the House, Herseth Sandlin's liberal ranking has dropped from #177 in 2004, to #182 in 2005 and 2006, to #204 in 2007, to #216 in 2008.

In 2008, the Congresswoman actually had a higher conservative than liberal ranking, at #212, with only 14 Democrats in the House having a more conservative voting record that year according to National Journal's analysis.

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin National Journal Vote Record Ranking, 2004-2008

Year
Liberal rank
Conservative rank
More conservative Democrats
2008
216
212
14
2007
204
224
24
2006
182
247
19
2005
182
254
25
2004
177
251
24
Note: National Journal data compiled by Smart Politics.

Since winning a 2004 special election on June 3, 2004 by 1.8 points, Herseth Sandlin has been reelected by 7.5 points in November 2004, 39.8 points in 2006, and 35.1 points in 2008.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: How Do We Judge Governor Pawlenty's Political Legacy?
Next post: Minnesota, Western States Lead Nation in Male Population; Vote for GOP Governors

2 Comments


  • The definition for radical liberal is a little bit ambiguous? At least this is my opinion, the radical side can be influenced by the government of the country for exemple.

    Stephanie Herseth is a good politician, but i don't think she is a radical.

  • Although not a liberal Democrat by Washington's standards, she's certainly very left of center as compared to her constituents.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

    Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

    Political Crumbs

    Mary Burke: English First?

    While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


    Does My Key Still Work?

    Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting